Grace abounding to the chief of sinners by John Bunyon is one of those books I should have read years ago. This is a Christian Classic that every Christian should read, but not because it is a classic. This book was written by Bunyon whilst he was in prison for preaching the gospel outside the Church of England. He spent 12 years in prison, separated from his wife and 4 children (including a blind daughter) where he also wrote one of the most well known books in the world ‘The Pilgrims Progress‘. This is his account of conversion, struggling with assurance and being in prison.
Here are 4 things I loved about this book:
He doesn’t glorify sin but the Saviour
Very often with stories of conversion the author seems to spend most of their time glorifying their sin and rebellion – it’s as if they are proud of their past. Bunyon truly hates his past and spend the right amount of time on it. His main aim is to point to the Saviour rather than his sin.
He doesn’t ignore his struggles and sadness
I’ve often thought of Bunyon as a Spiritual Superman who never struggled. However, in this book we meet a man who spent years trying to believe that God loved him in Christ, and once he had accepted the gospel struggled with assurance and whether he had committed the unforgivable sin. Reading his spiritual struggles is a real eye opener to the work of Satan and how we struggle with assurance. I found these passages insightful and instructive pastorally, but more than that, they warmed my heart to how we can grow in grace if we persevere in grace.
He helps you see that we need to rest on the gospel in the Bible
Throughout his life Bunyon fought all his battles in the Word. He agonised over verses and would read the Bible cover to cover to find truths. Even though he sometimes misunderstood passages, he would wrestle with them until he got to the truth. In his life time it was often remarked that he had no formal theological training and so shouldn’t be able to write such books, but my hunch is that his years of struggle and doubt searching the scriptures are what made him such a reliable expositor of the Word.
I found the account of discovering imputed Righteousness an amazing section.
He helps you see that faith is a journey that is never simple
This is the big theme of the book…life is a struggle. This was not a simple, one day, blinding light, conversion. His journey took years, including the struggle for assurance. If you struggle with assurance then this book is for you. You will find a friend in Bunyon, he will hold your hand as your cry through the Scriptures looking for hope and security. Indeed, he found a security and assurance that allowed him to stand for the faith for 12 years in a jail. God is good!
I should have read this book years ago. I should have read it in the first 5 years of my faith. But God has His plans and I’m sure it was right to read it now.
This book deserves to be a classic. This books deserves to be read by every Christian.